Firing After Filing: Illegal Retaliation under Florida Law?

In the last couple of years, cases where an employee is fired after getting injured on the job and subsequently filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim are becoming more prevalent. However, under Section 440.205 of the Florida Statutes (which specifies that following a work-related injury, a covered employee may file a claim under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Law and receive medical and supplemental payments while unable to work), this may constitute illegal retaliation. In order to state a claim for retaliation, the employee must prove that 1) he or she engaged in a statutorily protected activity; 2) an adverse employment action occurred; and 3) the adverse action was causally related to the employee’s protected activity, elements addressed in the case of Ortega v. Engineering Technology Services, Inc. However, this is only applicable when an employee has been discharged because he or she filed a Workers’ Compensation claim and is not relevant when an employee has been discharged for other legitimate business reasons, such as unsatisfactory job performance or excessive absenteeism.

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